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Pedicone defends TUSD's firing of MAS director

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Tucson Unified School District Superintendent John Pedicone said the Governing Board's decision to fire Mexican American Studies program director Sean Arce on Tuesday night was necessary for the program and district to move forward.

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Pedicone defended the board's decision.

"Last night’s TUSD Governing Board meeting was a difficult one for all involved," he said in the statement. "The decision to not renew Sean Arce’s contract was unfortunate because his skills are very valuable in working with students."

The board split on deciding to not renew Arce's contract, with members Adelita Grijalva and Alexander Sugiyama dissenting.

The contentious issue of Arce and the MAS program drew chanting protesters and a smoke bomb to the board's meeting at the district's headquarters.

"TUSD School Safety officers appropriately responded to and handled the incident," Pedicone said.

MAS courses were eliminated in January, when TUSD dropped the program after it was effectively banned under a state law.

Arce maintains his firing is retribution for his being outspoken in pushing the board to keep the program. He admits to being disciplined several times, but said his run-ins with TUSD administrators were the result of his not being willing to cooperate with them in ending the program.

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"The Mexican American Studies Department continues to be an organizational contributor to TUSD’s commitment to greater academic and social equity for Hispanic students," Pedicone said in the statement Wednesday.

"The development of both a curriculum and the staff to support that work is of the highest priority. That work has begun and will result in what we believe is a powerful approach to student success," he said.

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3 comments on this story

3
1415 comments
Apr 12, 2012, 8:08 am
-0 +0
2
1415 comments
Apr 12, 2012, 8:07 am
-0 +0

Ummm…I’m looking at the photos, and I don’t think that’s a picture of Arce. I think the photo is of a former MAS teacher. Arce is a younger, heavier-set guy with a goatee in most of the photos I’ve seen…

1
1415 comments
Apr 11, 2012, 3:21 pm
-1 +1

Arce maintains his firing is retribution for his being outspoken in pushing the board to keep the program. He admits to being disciplined several times, but said his run-ins with TUSD administrators were the result of his not being willing to cooperate with them in ending the program.

So, in other words, he didn’t do his job, the job he was being paid for…once could even make a strong argument that this is insubordination, which is grounds for firing at pretty much any place I’ve ever worked.

When you’re in charge of any program, and the time comes for that program to end, part of your job as director is to oversee and facilitate the shut down of that program and see it through to the end while maintaining dignity and professionalism. If this Arce guy doesn’t understand this, then he is not fit to be director of anything and his firing was justified.

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Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com

TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone

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